Encouraging news for those who like to take small bites throughout their daily dietary plans. Most metabolisms are not designed to eat three square meals per day and embracing a diet where calorie intake is divided into multiple small meals up to nine per day will lower blood pressure and encourage weight loss according to new research.
“Splitting food intake so we eat many times a day will have metabolic benefits over and above the same food consumed in a small number of meals,” the paper quoted Dr Susan Jebb, head of the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition Research Unit, as saying.
Research has shown that most people benefit from six or more small meals daily with emphasis on complex carbohydrates and protein. Many cannot tolerate large meals or quick sugars.
In one of the latest studies, scientists from Imperial College, London, compared the diets of more than 2,000 people from the UK, Japan, China and the U.S.
While they all had the same calorie intake and food, half the participants ate fewer than six times a day, while the remainder ate more than six times.
Results show the first group had a significantly higher systolic blood pressure — the pressure that blood exerts on vessels while the heart is beating — compared with the more frequent eaters. They were also significantly heavier.
Another research from the University of Athens, based on more than 2,000 children aged nine to 13, found those who ate five times a day were 32.6 percent less likely to have high levels of bad cholesterol than those who ate fewer meals.
Meanwhile, eating at least four small meals a day — a ‘nibbling’ diet, as researchers called it — sped up metabolism and lowered the risk of obesity, according to a Maastricht University study.